The X Factor
Mel B has one act in the final, Italian singer Andrea Faustini.ITV

Mel B could be missing from the judging panel for the X Factor final today due to a "mystery" illness.

The former member of the girl group the Spice Girls has reportedly been in hospital with an unnamed illness. She was not at the official news conference on Thursday, fuelling speculation that she might also miss the final.

Luckily for Mel, her finalist act, Andrea Faustini, was not left fending for himself at the pre-final press conference. Fellow judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini stepped in to provide some support to the Italian singer.

An X Factor spokesman commented: "She is still unwell and at this stage we don't know if she will be able to do the show."

Mel B, whose real name is Melanie Brown, reportedly has only a 10% chance of making the final due to ill health.

Rumours are awash on social media that Tulisa Contostavlos would be asked to step in as a last minute judge if Mel B, nicknamed Scary Spice, was unable to attend the final. Tulisa is a ready-made replacement as she has previously appeared on the show as a judge and remains a strong figure in the music industry.

Top judge Simon Cowell, did not mention Mel B's possible absence when he tweeted his excitement for the final. Posting a number of tweets, Cowell suggested that this year's final is "going to be the closest final year". He also told his legion of avid followers to "expect some spectacular performances".

This year's finalists are Ben Haenow, Andrea Faustini and Fleur East. Fleur East has already been tipped to win the final, although many people on social media consider that Andrea Faustini and Ben Haenow could defy the bookies and win the recording contract prize.